The Challenge: Companies rely on customer referrals to bring in new business. But, they continue to struggle to interact, listen, and respond in a manner that provides the engagement and motivation for customers to actually provide those referrals.
Online customer word of mouth interactions and reviews have always been a part of Google, which now has new rules in place that will boost business reviews to a greater degree of importance in 2014. For example, businesses will now be able to feature a small, 67-character review right under their PPC ad. Additionally, Google will gather and display photographs, comments, and reviews in organic search results if a prior related search had been commenced.
Five new findings regarding word of mouth marketing have emerged from thousands of hours of Voice of Customer research conducted by our firm, ERDM:
- Engaging and competitively differentiating customer experiences are the foundations of today's customer relationships.
One especially innovative organization that has embraced deep customer engagement is Thrillist Media Group, the leading men's digital media company. They have focused on differentiating themselves through personalization across channels, to their savvy male audience. Per Ben Lerer, Co-Founder and CEO of Thrillist Media Group:
Word of Mouth Marketing has played a huge role in our growth... The key has always been to think about our content creation purposefully: why does someone need this information and how will they be better and have more fun as a result of it.
Examples of how Thrillist has engaged customers to buy and be brand advocates include;
- They refined their marketing lists to identify specific audiences for relevant "This is recommended for YOU" emails sent on selected products.
This resulted in;
- Increased traffic to the site
5 Takeaways to Cultivate Customer Referrals:
- Create methods of direct conversations. Give customers ample avenues to engage in conversations with your company through the touch points of their choice.
Ernan Roman is recognized as a Customer Experience innovator and was inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame for creating three transformational methodologies: Voice of Customer Relationship Research, Integrated Direct Marketing, and Opt-in Marketing.
He was also named by Crain's B to B Magazine as one of the "100 most influential people in Business Marketing".
His latest book on marketing best practices is titled, : Voice of the Customer Marketing: A Proven 5-Step Process to Create Customers Who Care, Spend, and Stay.
Ernan is also the author of the widely read blog, "Ernan's Insights on Marketing Best Practices", (www.erdm.com), and author of "Opt-in Marketing" and "Integrated Direct Marketing".
ERDM's Customer Experience strategies achieve consistent double-digit increases in response and revenue for clients, which include IBM, MassMutual, QVC, NBC Universal, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, and Symantec.
As a leader in providing Voice of Customer research-based strategies, ERDM has conducted over 10,000 hours of interviews with customers and prospects of these clients to gain an in-depth understanding of their expectations for high value customer relationships.